Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Dip

I know I have mentioned this book in earlier posts. However I just reread the last quarter over again. Wow that really speaks to me. What road am I on? Am I in a culdesac? Am I making progress on the goals that I have for myself? All questions that I need to answer.

What most compelling is that it is human nature to stick to a place in our life that is comfortable, and not productive. Sure, we all go for a run after watching the biggest loser, but the next day a lunch, bring on the beef n' cheddar.

OK so if that is true then what is it that maintains forward motion in the things we do. Do we need to have a heart attack before we start losing weight? Do I work more efficiently because my boss yelled at me or called me out in a meeting? Unfortunately to often at least for me this is the case. Why is it that I cant wrap my mind around the fact that I need to be moving forward to reach and achieve my goals? As I was on my post biggest loser walk tonight, I got thinking about a part in the show where one of the trainers was trying to help a person dig down deep into their emotional self and find the real reason they are overweight. I think in most peoples life, the same reason they are overweight is the same reason they do anything self destructive. And when I say they I mean me. The girl that was getting drilled, finally dug to the layer of some emotional issues she had with her parents divorce.

Likely there is much more to the story, but I would say even getting that far is much further than most people are able to get on their own. As I was walking I got thinking about what it is the root cause of unhappiness in my life. Now, I am not an unhappy person. 98% of the time I am happy as a peach in ice cream (see my earlier post) however I wanted to figure out what made me a miserable miser that other 2% of the time. After some self questioning and digging, I think the root cause is simple.

I am a lazy SOB

That may sound harsh. But its a good thing. Much like finding the reason for making you sick, I can now focus energy on a simple problem. Its also comforting to me to think that if that is the case, that means I am a lazy sob only 2% of the time. That sounds good, but think what that 2% is costing me in productivity. That 2% is keeping me from my goals or at very least prolonging the time before I reach them.

My resolve for 2008. Stop being a lazy SOB.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Give up on your dreams?

I just finished a book by Seth Godin called "The Dip". An excellent read, and one that I wish I read years ago. I wont give away the book, but what I learned was how important it is to stay focused on what is going to make you the biggest success. And quit doing all the things that make me lose my focus on those things.

I was always good at sports when I was young. I like many young people dreamed of being a professional sports player with all the benefits that go along with it. As I matured, I soon realized that while I may be the strongest and fastest on my block, I was not able to compete on a state wide level. I was at that point interested in a variety of other things that were catching my attention. Even if I had the natural gifts it took to compete with those gifted athletes that were on their way up, I did not have the focus to even have a shot.

After high school is when the peer pressure began. So many people seemed to have my future all planned out, disregarding what I had planned for my own future. Did they mean well? Yes. Did it help me reach my goals? No. As I started down the road of life, eventually I was able to get off the roads they had me on, and started the journey down my own road. It was then that I was focused and had passion to hone my God given skills and talents.

Once a person stops allowing themselves to be pushed in a direction by other people and gives up dreams that belong to other people and not themselves, it is at that moment that they truly define their own destiny. Nothing (besides themselves) can hold them back.

Seth Godin believes that everyone in the world has the ability to be the "best in the world" at something. For some, that seems more obvious than others. You remember those people that are very artistic, or can sing like a bird. Their future seems so obvious, all they need is a shot of confidence and a bit of hard work and perseverance. However, most of us have to do some serious soul searching in order to find what that God given talent is. Isn't it wonderful to know that we all have something? Every last one of us. We can hone that talent any way we like. Rather we are money motivated or family or whatever.

Read it. "The Dip" by Seth Godin

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mikes Favorite Things: Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker

Another entry in Oprah er Mikes Favorite things... Our new Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker.

I must say its one of the greatest self-serving presents I have ever bought for my wife.

We first used the several mixes that came with the maker, then have slowly branched out and have tried a few new recipes.

One of the biggest criteria for something to be listed in "my favorite things" list is that it works as good or better then advertised. This has exceeded my expectations, and I am looking forward to many extra pounds gained by use of this invention. God Bless America and the dude that invented ice cream makers!

Mark Cuban does it again

I know, you cant stand him, he is a whiny little rich brat, blah, blah, blah. Fact is, he is a great American business man, who has turned nothing into something many times.

He recently had a blog entry that really hit a chord with me.


"I learned a lot from Don Nelson when he was coach and GM of the Mavericks. He told me something early on, that opened my eyes. I forget the exact conversation, but we were talking about players, and I asked him why he didnt talk to a specific player about something that was going on. What he said was that "THe worse evaluator of talent is a player trying to evaluate himself."

The same applies to business people and particularly to entrepreneurs and want to be entrepreneurs. We tend to be less than honest with ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses.

I have been just as bad at this as anyone, particularly when I was getting started in the business world. For those of us who dream of starting and running a business, we know that we have to have a level of confidence in our own abilities. We dont want to believe that there are things we cant do. We want to believe that if we try hard enough, work long enough, and get a little lucky, that the sky is the limit. The problem is that we let our confidence cloud our judgements of what we truly know about ourselves.

Im one of the least organized people I know. Today, i have an assistant and others that help me run my life. If you ask me where IM going to be in 3 days. I have no idea. I do know that i have a kick ass assistant who is going to make sure that when i wake up that morning, I know where Im going and how to get there.

When i was 23 years old, sleeping on the floor and starting MicroSolutions, no assistant. No organization. I was a procrastinator. Accounting was a shoebox of receipts. I was a mess.

But I lied to myself and said that I could deal with it. That i would make time to get it all figured out and organized. That if I only set my mind to it, I could be a detail person. I could stop procrastinating. It doesnt work that way.

I did the things I was good at. I could sell. So I sold. I could write software programs. I could integrate PCs. I could set up local area networks. And I did. My business grew. But it also grew out of control A local area network or a software program without documentation is a disaster waiting to happen. And they did. Not to the point where it killed my business, but to the point where I spent far too much time fixing things rather than selling new deals.

Fortunately, one of my best customers at the time was interested in becoming a partner in my business. Martin Woodall ran a company called Hytec Data Systems. He was not only smart and a good programmer, but he was the most anal, detail oriented person I had ever met in my life. The perfect partner for me.

Our partnership wasnt always easy. We had more than our shares of knock down drag out fights. He of course would want everything done with precision and if lack of perfection was an option, he didnt want to do it. I of course was the exact opposite. I was the GO FOR IT guy. We can sort it out after the fact. We were perfect partners. We knew and trusted the skills of the other and although many might not think yelling was the best way to work things out, we managed.

It all came down to choice. I had the choice between lying to myself and pretending that I could turn on a switch and become a details person, or accepting the fact that Im not, and partnering with someone who is. Continuing to lie meant I would probably lose my business.

Every entrepreneur faces comparable choices. Each of us has to face the reality of who we are and what we are.

What choice will you make ?"

Well said Mark